Eagle timber gets hydro ax treatment | PostIndependent.com

Eagle timber gets hydro ax treatment

State and local agencies begin timber clearing north of Eagle next Tuesday to protect 20 homes from wildfires.

“Reducing the number of trees will create a fuel break that helps reduce fire intensity and the ability of a fire to move through the crown,” said Bureau of Land Management spokesman Dan Sokal. “This provides a defensible space for suppression, allowing firefighters to engage and control the fire.”

The project is a joint effort between the Bureau of Land Management, Eagle County, the town of Eagle, the Greater Eagle Fire District, and the Eby Creek Homeowners Association.

The goal is to create a fire break between the homes in Eby Creek and heavily forested BLM lands.

The BLM will use a hydro ax to cut and shred trees west and south of the homes.

Sokal described a hydro ax as piece of equipment that looks like a front-end loader, but with three-inch-thick cutting blades rather than a bucket.

“Essentially, it’s a lawn mower,” Sokal said.

The hydro ax can be raised and lowered, and positioned at different angles. “It shreds trees down to two to three inches above the ground,” he said. “The hydro ax will thin out trees on both sides of existing trails to create three major fuel breaks.”

Hand crews will thin trees close to homes, and approximately 33 acres will be cleared.

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